Back in September 2008, the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild (GBACG) held a lovely “Wives and Daughters Picnic” in Berkeley, CA. As the Bay Area Guild always produces fantastic events, I decided to carpool up with a friend for a time period event that is rarely seen. Corded petticoats, here we come!
I’d already made an 1830s cotton dress but, of course, wanted something new. I had discovered C&J Textiles in New York and their wonderful line of silks. I HAD to make a taffeta gown.
Apparently I was on a green kick that year and chose this extraordinary color – a moss green shot with gold. It’s really a “Dark Mark” green color (with the gold), but I call it my Slytherin dress as it would be perfect for a Hogwarts reunion party, wouldn’t it?
My original inspiration was from Plate No. 10 from French Fashions of the Romantic Era. This book is chock full of ideas for creating dresses of this period. Can I have one of each?
The idea was to re-create this dress. I started with the Truly Victorian 1830s Romantic Era Dress and altered the bodice to match the design. The bodice pleating was merely draped to the dress while on my dressform and hand tacked down.
Each seam is piped with 1/16” cotton cord self piping with double piping at the center front seam and neckline, which I absolutely LOVE and am very proud of the look.
The lower sleeves started with a basic fitted sleeve, while the top puff began from Jean Hunnisett’s beret sleeve. I drafted (by trial and error) the bands and smaller puff. The puffs are flatlined with stiff cotton organdy.
The skirt was created from basic straight panels which were knife and cartridge pleated into the waistband.
The dagged-edge trim was created with math calculations of how many points are seen in the fashion plate and how wide my skirt was along with good ole guesses. I hand sketched the design on pattern paper then cut out the ruffle and each point with regular pinking shears.
As I admire this time period, it’s an extremely fun dress to wear and bounce around in. The Romantic Era (1820-40) is hard to pull off correctly and I love the challenges this presents.